United Airlines Has Completely Redesigned The Inside Of Their Planes, Here Are Photos From The Prototype

In summer 2021 United Airlines announced a new domestic cabin interior for the new planes they were ordering, and committed to retrofit existing planes to their new standard.

This would mean more premium seats; seatback entertainment screens with bluetooth for headphones; seat power and larger overhead bins; and fast wifi.

It’s taken two full years but the first plane with their new interior – a 25 year old Airbus A319 – is now flying. Courtesy of United’s Chief Customer Officer Lindo Jojo here’s a peek at first new ‘Signature’ interior that’s been completed.

Flying this weekend on an United Airlines Airbus 319? Maybe it will be on our 1st aircraft that has been retro fit with our Signature interior! Yes — an overhead bin spot for everyone’s carry on. And yes! Seatback entertainment in every seat — complete with Bluetooth connectivity !

Dubbed United NEXT, the fleet plan was ambitious and positioned the airline as a more premium airline. The new interior addresses a deficiency versus Delta and advantage over American in terms of screens, and also overhead bins (United’s smaller bins meant more customers having to gate check bags – which is a bad customer experience and risks delaying flights).

It’s also a catch up with both American and Delta in terms of internet. Addressing internet bandwidth will make it possible for United to match Delta and JetBlue with free inflight wifi as well, something that CEO Scott Kirby said was in the cards before the pandemic – but that isn’t possible with the technology in their current fleet since there’s not even enough bandwidth in the current system to support passengers who pay for it.

The project is behind and proceeding more slowly than United kept suggesting, but eventually gone will be no screens and small screens at seats, and mostly gone will be having to gate check carry on bags. Coach won’t be luxury, but it’ll be better. And with functional inflight internet, it should mean the end of my recommendation to avoid United if you want to be productive while in the air. Adding these retrofits to new delivery 737 MAXs should mean a better experience overall.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Poor American. They just fall further and further behind. “”It’s all about the network”. Yah, right. Special thanks go to Doug Parker for helping destroy AA.

  2. Good luck getting everybody to put their overhead bin bag up horizontally and not put loads of other crap on too and fill them up..

  3. @Gary, since the redesign is supposed to be “more premium seats” do you have a photo of the premium cabin you could share?

  4. If ALL airlines had upgrades like this, it will keep passengers occupied (TV monitors, good internet) from fighting with each other inflight.

  5. Any idea on a timeline for an entire fleet retrofit? I’m guessing a LONG time.

  6. Minibus fleet should be retired by the time this is anywhere close to ‘complete’.

  7. This post is misleading. Planes with the new Next interior are more common than implied in the post. All new 737 deliveries have it.

    I flew it Friday, and it’s mostly a good update. Seat comfort in exit row was questionable. Wifi was actually usable for VPN work

  8. My past 3 flights the WiFi hasn’t worked, although I’ve been trying to use the T-Mobile free option… might it be better if I shelled out the $6?

    That’s my one major gripe. On the flipside United’s global wifi is pretty good.

  9. How innovative, a blue ceiling and blue pinstripe. That will certainly get me into one of their spam cans soon.
    Now that the lipstick is on how about removing 25% of the seats

  10. The real path toward a more premium experience is removing seats and increasing seats size/leg room.
    I’d pay more if someone catered to only business travelers.

  11. Nice to see they still have the worthless seatback pockets that nothing can be put into. Big upgrade…not.

  12. Good for United but does retrofitting a 25 year old a319 make sense? I guess if you want to keep it for 50 years!

  13. Delta has overhead bins like this…still doesn’t accommodate everyone’s carryon’s. Why, because people overstuff their rollers, try to put both overhead….etc. I fly almost weekly…check 2 bags and only carryon my backpack. Guess where it goes…overhead. I’ve had people ask me to put it under the seat in front of me…I politely decline. Most of the FC seats it can’t fit under..and besides, I get one overhead…so that’s where it goes. People need to stop being cheap and check a bag ..worst offenders are “business professionals”… especially on regional jets.

  14. @ Chris Raehl ,

    Do. You have the T-mobile plan that allows unlimited, T-Mobile recently turned on the plan that limits you to 4 flights per year, until a month ago that plan was not enforcing the limit. You have to have the “PLUS” plan to get unlimited.

  15. What a joke, no redesign or the seats would be configured more for humans than cargo. Perhaps United could hire some maids too. I’m sorry, but redesign starts with the customer, not the correct colors. Think about it…and the old saying comes to me and, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it still is a pig.

  16. AA wifi isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Last week on a E175 FCA-DFW the speed was so slow it was practically unusable. I finally gave up and considered the expense a waste of money.

  17. All the gadgetry is intended to remove one’s thoughts from the fact it’s still a sardine can you’ve gladly allowed yourself to be packed into…

  18. First world problems says:
    Back in the 80’s I used to tons of biz in Toronto. Before non-stop Thai 747 to Toronto, from Seattle, I used to take puddle jumper from SEA to YVR. From there, Canadian 737 to Toronto. It came with first and biz. No coach. Real legroom, great choices for food. Wonderful service. So, now Canadians are “lucky” to just have AC.

  19. Very happy to see them working on this. As a fairly recent convert from American it reaffirms my decision.

  20. @ John Letta UA’s A319s are not sardine cans. UA’s A319s hold a total of 126 pax. For comparison, Delta’s A223s hold 130 PAX and their A319s hold 132 pax. 126 is less than 130 and 132. So explain to me this: How is it that the A319 with the least number of seats is a sardine can?

  21. What a joke, no redesign or the seats would be configured more for humans than cargo. Perhaps United could hire some maids too. I’m sorry, but redesign starts with the customer, not the correct colors. Think about it…and the old saying comes to me and, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it still is a pig.

    I remember countless stupid posts like that one pertaining to the renovation of LaGuardia from a crowd that’s now silent after the airport reopened to international acclaims and awards…

  22. I believe it also “features” the lav mutilation where the carve 2 into one. Good luck going potty if you are taller than 5’1 or weigh more than 95 lb.

  23. First retrofit is very different from first plane with new interior.

    Every max8, half of max 9s have been with this interior for a while.

  24. Looks nice but typical old battleship grey United mentality – upgrade the customer space but forget about the the employee space. Maybe the union will fix it.

  25. American, Delta, United…….it’s all the same crap. Just be happy you make it to your destination and on time hopefully.

  26. @Dave…to be fair, the reason DAL has 6 more seats in coach is due to position on the rear lavs. DAL also as 4 more FC seats…

  27. Poor American, NOT. . .poor DL and UA, most those screens don’t age well and 50% of the time don’t work. Plus they take up a huge amount of space. Much prefer my streaming (it is the 21st century isn’t it?) and using a device of my own, that I know works and know who has touched it.

    I agree internationally the screens make more sense, but domestically, as long as I get live TV and a good movie selection (which AA does better than anyone else), I am good. Plus only a handful allow for use with my bluetooth and while that’s changing, I don’t like to connect to devices other then my own for safety reasons. AA is going to ViaSats Next Generation soon including on RJs so faster and faster internet then it’s rivals is why they win.

  28. As others have said all the new 737 Max models come with it. The new 321 NEOs and 321 XLRs will come this way too. All the older model airplanes will be retrofitted over the next couple of years. Not mentioned is power at every seat. No more wondering what you’re going to get onboard. A single product, which United and Continental haven’t had in 30 years.

  29. I flew one of these last week between Houston and New Orleans and it did feel like the larger overhead bins were used appropriately and made a difference for boarding. Hope that continues!

  30. @Dave, yes that is true. I was comparing AA to DAL I believe.

    DAL has 3 rows (18 total seats) in C+

    UAL has 6 rows (36 total seats) in E+

    There’s your difference.

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